Man killed in armed standoff with law enforcement

Man killed in armed standoff with law enforcement
(Source: Arkansas State Police)

JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - A 64-year-old St. Francis County man died Monday night when he was shot by an Arkansas State Police trooper.

The shooting was the culmination of an armed standoff that began that morning between Robert Wayne Lawson of Forrest City and sheriff’s deputies.

According to a news release Tuesday from ASP, deputies went to Lawson’s home on County Road 301 on an arrest warrant after he allegedly threatened to harm his neighbors.

“As deputies approached the residence they were met by Lawson brandishing a rifle and threatening them,” the news release stated.

Sheriff’s deputies attempted to negotiate with Lawson and urged him to surrender.

When their pleas went unanswered, the sheriff’s office requested assistance from ASP.

“State police took charge of the standoff shortly after 9 p.m.,” the release stated.

As members of ASP’s Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) team approached the home, Lawson reportedly stepped outside with a pistol and rifle in hand and warned the troopers to leave.

He then fired a single shot from one of the guns, ASP said.

“A SWAT team member returned fire and Lawson retreated into the home,” the report said.

ASP then “placed irritant gas” inside the home.

When Lawson emerged at approximately 11:10 p.m., a trooper shot him.

Lawson was pronounced dead at the scene.

His body has been sent to the Arkansas State Crime Laboratory for autopsy.

ASP is conducting an investigation into the use of deadly force by law enforcement officers. The file will then be turned over to the St. Francis County prosecuting attorney to determine if the use of deadly force was consistent with Arkansas laws.

No ASP officers were injured.

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